Here is an article about our kitchen remodel which started in 2007, completed in early 2008. Other additions were made until July 2014 with the resurfacing of our fireplace in splitface stone and repainting in better colors. Photos are finally up here:

The Story

The project began back in 1997. We went to Home Depot and had a measure done. We planned on extending the cabinets another 8 feet toward the family room for a 17x13 eat in kitchen. We would have had to replace the floor along with the cabinets, tear out or modify the soffits as well as move the heating duct work. We had also gone to Kurtis Kitchens and Lowes. We also got an estimate from a contractor over the years. This project had simmered long enough and we decided to simplify the design and replace what we had in the same footprint rather than make radical changes. The Purchase Thanksgiving of 2007 we went back to Home Depot and wrote the check for Kraft Maid cabinets and a granite countertop. My friend Rich was contracted for some of the more elaborate demolition and we waited for the cabinets to arrive. The Stove We were sick of the electric range and so we ordered a Maytag freestanding gas range to be delivered early. The range was delivered on a Saturday and I ripped out the electric and put it on the street the night before. I also ran black pipe for the new range. I had to find and fix a gas leak in an inaccessible spot but by the time the stove arrived we were all set to turn it on. In fact, it was working within an hour of delivery. So we were on our way. We planned to keep the Asko dishwasher but replace the GE fridge but at least we had a nice stove for a change. Our neighbor Carlton suggested we keep the electrical wiring for the stove. For $15, I found a 220 stove outlet that was floor mountable so I went for it and kept the 220 line but turned off the breaker. If any future purchaser of our house wants electric or two-mode stove the wire is already there.

The New Cabinets Arrive

The arrival date for the cabinets was set for 12/18/2007, so the weekend before I began swinging the sledge and got the old upper cabinets down effortlessly. Our sink stopped working on 12/17/2007. The day the cabinets arrived, we were overwhelmed with cardboard KraftMaid boxes. They were in every room on the first floor except the kitchen. I finished the demo. I already had the wall cabinets up the evening of 12/18/2007. In fact, by Christmas eve everything was in. Rich came down and a crew of three of us cut out the beams that prevented installation of the pantry and over fridge cabinets. I had to put soap on the top of the pantry to squeeze it into place under our crooked soffits. Initial Install By Christmas eve, we had a kitchen with a working stove and microwave and about 2/3 of our things put away. We burned the cardboard KraftMaid boxes in the fireplace and waited for the granite measure on 12/26. The granite measure was uneventful except I found out that I was responsible for getting things perfectly flat. Not level, just flat. So I went over to Home Depot and purchased a 4 foot level and a 6 foot level and made a 10 foot level. I found out that the outside of the peninsula was pitched down an entire 1/8 inch. I used some masonite to raise the outside edge of the peninsula and went around with a belt sander knocking down uneven or high spots. I called Rich and he came back and helped me sweat the copper so that when the granite came we could simply connect the plumbing to the sink and go.

The Granite

The granite arrived on January 14 and it only took 90 minutes to install, thanks to the fact everything was flat to within 1/16 an inch. Now I could turn my attention to the final plumbing. The granite contractor made me mad when they called to tell me there wasn’t room for 4 holes. I lost the soap dispenser I had planned to have. Later, once everything was in, it looked to me like there was room for 4 holes. Why didn’t they give me the 4th hole? O well. We found a stainless soap dispenser that matches our faucets. The New Sink Our sink was off for exactly one month. On 1/17/2008 we had a working sink, garbage disposal and dishwasher again. No more eating out or paper plates. And the kitchen was beautiful. We were so happy we picked Sinclair Cathedral in Fawn Oak. It cost extra for the fancy doors but it was worth it. Inside the pantry are 7 pullouts. 6 came with the order from KraftMaid and the 7th was ordered from ebay. Conclusion There is a lazy susan in the lower cabinet next to the sink and another for spices in the cabinet in the corner above the sink. Then there is a wood lazy susan in the corner cabinet by the peninsula. Three lazy susans, 7 pullouts and 10 drawers. Our storage space went up by about 50 percent with our cabinet footprint staying the same as it was before the remodel. We also were able to keep the floors and can get around to them later, possibly this spring. The countertop is beautiful and it is a pleasure to work in our kitchen. By changing the peninsula cabinets so they aren’t as tall, the person in the kitchen doesn’t feel like a galley slave, cut off from whatever is going on in the breakfast area or family room. This is the single biggest impact project to make our house more livable and we’re both sorry we waited so long and glad we have it done.

Postscript - The flooring - 9/24/2008 We thought about ceramic. Even wood. But the height of the floor combined with the soffits makes it very difficult to get away with raising things even 1/4 inch. So we looked at laminate. We brought home about 16 cases of laminate from Home Depot and were about to install it when we decided to go to the spot in town where Home Depot and Lowes are across from each other and look at both selections side by side within minutes of each other. I’m so glad we did. We had settled on a dupont fake ceramic looking plank but instead found a slate looking square laminate at Lowes. It was only available by special order. Two weeks later we had it and could start pulling up the ugly blue carpet and old linoleum. The linoleum was on 1/4 underlayment which was held in place by 700 billion staples. I don’t know. The number 700 billion has just been on my mind a lot lately ;). Now the floor is in and it is beautiful. Look for another postscript for a ceramic backsplash some time in the next month or two...

Postscript 2 - The backsplash - Late 2008 I laid out the slate tiles in the basement and moved them around until we were happy with the pattern. I then took them up and glued them up. The grout was surprisingly dark. It was shockingly dark. Thank god it dried lighter but not as light as we would like. Some day we may go back and change the grout for a lighter color. Postscript 3 - The family room - Spring 2009 In most of my kitchen pictures taken over the peninsula facing the family room, the family room could easily be mistaken for a coal mine. The dark brown paneling was simply too much. We ripped down the dark paneling and put up drywall in preparation for our son's graduation party in Spring 2009. We got some help from friends from church with the sanding and painting and all was ready for the carpet to go in early April and the furniture came in stages during May and early June. We also got a nice trophy case for all the kids' music and sports trophies. Now we have a comfortable, bright and cheery area to eat and entertain. I know my wife hated the family room because she always used to stop people in the front hall rather than invite them in. Now she brings them right in. Postscript 4 - The new stereo During the family room remodel, we decided to do away with the big speakers I have had since college. We got a Samsung HT-BD1250 BluRay player because it came with Netflix and Pandora. It never worked right. The remote only worked about 30 percent of the time. Samsung sent us a new remote in July but it didn't really do the trick. Finally we got a working unit, almost 6 months into our ownership. It worked great. Every button press on the remote made something happen. Then it fried itself when it went to download new firmware. Samsung stepped up, after a few highly charged emails, and replaced it with a working unit. I can say 7 and a half months after purchase the thing finally works. I would recommend it as a low cost alternative to a separate dvd player and stereo, but if I had it to do over I'd opt for separate components. The only up side is there is only one remote to deal with.

Postscript 3 - The Dark Family Room Paneling

The family room paneling matched the ugly dark older kitchen cabinets. We ripped down the paneling and put up drywall. At the same time I ran ethernet and surround sound wiring. The look was greatly improved.  Later we took out the sky blue carpet and put down brown carpet.

Postscript 4 - Better Paint Colors and Resurfacing the Fireplace

In 2014 we finally got better colors in the kitchen and family room in the spring. In late spring and early summer, I resurfaced the not too bad looking brick fireplace with fabulous looking split face stone.

Postscript 5 - New Windows and Doorwall

In late 2014 I ordered new windows and drywall and the transformation from late 1960s to a modern kithcen and family room area was complete. In late 2015 I finally got around to linking photos: